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On Palm Sunday Pastor Scott spoke about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-44, Matt 21:10-11) and with it three simple things we can do in “Preparation for Easter”.

  1. Do what Jesus says. (Luke 19:28-35)
  2. Feel what Jesus feels (Luke 19:41-43)
  3. Share who Jesus is (Matt 21:10-11)

Personally, I don’t like being told what to do. I might gripe and grumble for a bit, but eventually I’ll do it. Really, though it all boils down to how I’m being told, because after all, it’s not what you say, but how you say it.

But is it really all that different when it’s God telling me what to do? After all, it’s God – by default I’m supposed to listen, I’m supposed to be obedient, I’m supposed to submit. Sadly, the same process applies – I still may grip and grumble, but not as long and the end result of my obedience to God ultimately lightens the weight that was once on my shoulders.

I remember two years ago when I was at a Ladies retreat with my mom. The speaker was talking about her childhood and how she didn’t have the best relationship with her parents. Once she had children, she learned that in order for her children to respect her and her husband as their parents – she would have to start treating her own parents with the respect they deserved (even if they didn’t rightfully deserve it). Right then and there I could hear God telling me, “Jonelle, you need to stop being sarcastic to your dad.”

“What?”

Asking me not to be sarcastic was like asking me not to breathe. I think God realized He needed to be more specific. “You need to not allow your sarcasm get to the point of passive aggression. You need to be more respectful to your dad.”

It was then that I realized that if the change didn’t start with me, how could I expect my future child(ren) to respect my husband as their father if I didn’t respect my own father? And further, how could I except share who Jesus is with my dad, if I’m not showing God’s love to him.

“Okay, God. No sarcasm to the point of passive aggression. Please help me, because I will need it.”

A week after this moment I was put to the test when I was to spend a day with my dad. I was surprised at this simple obedience to God that I actually enjoyed the day with my dad. There was no anger, or resentment or the need to argue with him about the inconsequential. There was only compassion, a compassion that could only have come from being obedient to what Jesus says, which allowed me to feel what Jesus’ feels, and with my actions share Jesus with my dad.

Even two years later, it is still a conscious effort on my part to remember to watch my sarcasm when it comes to my dad. After all it is my love language, but I find that my visits with my dad are more enjoyable when I embrace God’s obedience, remember to feel what Jesus feels, and hopefully all of this will prepare me for the time I will truly get to share with him what Jesus did for us.

Jonelle

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 Pastor Scott’s sermon today, Palm Sunday, was about doing what Jesus says. He explained how a sole act of obedience ushered God into a city and how a sole act of obedience on our part could also usher God into our lives and neighborhoods and cities. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, Jesus wept when he saw the city- deep weeping like mourning. When we allow God to let us feel the way He does- we will weep, too.

When Pastor Scott was speaking my thoughts went to the Bible verse, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5) If we ask God to give us His heart for people who do not yet know Him, He will give us His heart! We will see the world through His eyes. Like Jesus, we will weep for those who are lost. But we can have faith that our weeping is not for nothing. The Bible promises that we will see people come to faith in Jesus. We will return from telling others about Him shouting with joy! From personal experience, I can say that I haven’t always returned from telling others about Jesus with shouts of joy. Sometimes I have told people only to return home with more tears. I have obeyed what God asked me to do and not seen any results and have felt discouraged. When that has happened, I have to trust that just because I didn’t see the “results” I was looking for, God is still doing what He wants to do. I may never see the results of my obedience, but I can trust that He will accomplish what He wants to accomplish.

Pastor Scott also said that it might be that only you and God know what He is asking you to do- but if you obey God, obedience can change your life and the lives of those around you.

What if you don’t know what God wants you to do? If we don’t know what God wants from us, we can always assume that He wants us to share Him with the people we know who do not know Him. We will never go wrong with the two greatest commandments: He wants us to love him and love people- we can never go wrong with that!

Pastor Scott said, “When we come to Jesus, we realize we are far more broken then we ever realized.”  To come to Christ we must see our need of salvation.  We have to come to a place where we see our sin and repent.  We must see our need to be saved. Who is Christ, if not our Savior?  

I grew up in the church and knew a lot about the Bible.  I went through Confirmation.  I took communion.  I knew the right things to say.  But I didn’t understand, on a personal level, my need for a Savior.  Even though I knew that I was a sinner, I didn’t know that Jesus could forgive me and HEAL my brokenness. I didn’t know that if I gave Jesus my brokenness, He could heal me and make me whole. I felt stuck in a loop of sinning and having the pastor announce my forgiveness. The forgiveness announcement, whether it came after communion or to the whole congregation at the end of the service, did not mean anything short of “fire insurance” to my young mind.  A friend invited me to his Foursquare youth group and to make a long story incredibly short, after hearing the message of salvation presented to me in a new way, one night in my room I wrote down all the sins I could think of, placed that piece of paper in a metal trash can and lit it on fire.  I asked Jesus to take away my brokenness and forgive me and heal me.  From that point on, Jesus changed my life.  And if I had thought that I was a sinner before then, I KNEW I was a sinner after that. I saw the holiness of God and knew that I in no way could ever measure up. I saw that in spite of my sin, Jesus loved me and accepted me and offered me forgiveness and a new life. From that night forward, the Holy Spirit continued to show me my sin and brokenness.  Things inside of me that I hadn’t thought were wrong, He convicted me of them and showed me how to change.  Even thoughts that I held about other people or myself, He showed me my brokenness and slowly started changing me.  And now, 20 years later, the Holy Spirit shows me my brokenness on a daily basis.  I still receive His healing and His righting of my thoughts and actions each day.  I KNOW that I am a sinner, but I know that Jesus offers wholeness and healing and purity and peace and hope and joy and acceptance and righteousness because I am covered by the blood of Jesus who died for me.  He promises that His mercies are new every morning!

The Bible says that God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him (JESUS) we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21NIV

Because Jesus, who is sinless, took upon our sinfulness and brokenness, we can have new life in Christ! No matter what, Christ can forgive us and heal us. Like Pastor Scott said, we just need to realize our brokenness and let Jesus change us